Imagining Feminist Interfaces v2

Voice technologies are largely designed and coded to enrich companies in a narrow, capitalist context, and principles like justice, diversity, and accessibility aren’t often key considerations. Why do our voice technologies need to be gendered at all? Could a voice technology help intervene and undermine systems of oppression? How can we build consensual technologies that leave people feeling empowered?

Our group tendernet has been exploring these ideas around voice technologies through an intersectional feminist framework. As part of our work, we run speculative design workshops in which we imagine technology that embodies the central commitments of feminism: Agency, fulfillment, identity and the self, equity, empowerment, diversity, and social justice. Each workshop operates from three key assumptions:

(1) Design exists within and shapes larger social structures and ecosystems, and design decisions are always political.

(2) A feminist approach to voice isn’t just about making our voice assistants less sexist – it’s about taking a justice-centered approach to interaction design.

(3) Communities that are most impacted by technology should be able to actively shape the values embedded in the software’s design.